Solar power soon to be cheapest energy source around

26 Feb 2015

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Solar power will, in just 10 years, plummet in cost to just €0.04-6/kWh, and half again by 2050, a new study suggests.

The study – called Current and Future Cost of Photovoltaics – finds that these conservative estimates don’t even consider sunnier climates than that of the European powerhouse, with solar power soon to be the cheapest electricity source in many of the world’s regions.

“Financial and regulatory environments will be key to reducing cost in the future,” reads the report, which claims that hardware costs are due to drop despite bureaucracy curtailing much of those savings.

With prices dropping as low as €0.02-4/kWh for the production of solar power by 2050, it’s evident what this could mean to the energy industry.

Solar photovoltaic plants will therefore undercut conventional large-scale power plants, which incur costs of anything between €0.05-10/kWh, which is likely to rise given the unsustainable model the energy industry is built on.

Pricedrop

Current costs, in comparison to previous 25 years. Graph via Current and Future Cost of Photovoltaics

Indeed Dr Patrick Graichen, director of Agora Energiewende – the company that commissioned the report – claims the reducing cost of solar power is catching many off guard, reducing at a far quicker pace than anticipated.

“Plans for future power supply systems should therefore be revised worldwide,” he says.

“Until now, most of them only anticipate a small share of solar power in the mix. In view of the extremely favourable costs, solar power will on the contrary play a prominent role, together with wind energy – also, and most importantly, as a cheap way of contributing to international climate protection.”

Solar cost globally

Predicting the cost of solar power plants globally. Graph via Current and Future Cost of Photovoltaics

Solar power image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt is a journalist at Siliconrepublic.com

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